Abel Tasman National Park
The smallest National Park in New Zealand but by far one of the best when it comes to the coastline, rich and diverse marine life and the white-sand beaches with turquoise waters. The park is a haven for both adventure and relaxation.
The best time to visit the park is in the summer as it is one of the sunniest regions in New Zealand.
Locating the Park
This park is located between the Golden Bay and the Tasman Bay on the northern end of the South Islands. The area the park is found in is called the Nelson Tasman region. The towns closest to the park are Motueka, Takaka and Kaiteriteri. Nelson is around 2 hours drive away from this park.
The exciting part about getting to this park is the varied opportunities available to reach the park.
- You can drive into the park from the roadways of Marahau, Wainui, Totaranui, and Awaroa.
- You can get into a water taxi or boat of Vista cruise, Abel Tasman Water Taxis, and Abel Tasman Aqua Taxis.
- You also have the opportunity to kayak to the park yourself as there are many water taxi and cruise services providing this experience to get into the park.
Must have experiences in Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman Coast Track
This track is one of the ten great walks that you can take on in New Zealand. The hike is 60 km long and takes 3-5 days to complete and is regarded as an intermediate track. At the heart of the trek are the beautiful white sand beaches, the crystal clear bays with the backdrop of cliffs. The sunniest place of New Zealand offers the only coast side-walk in New Zealand. The most impressive part of the track is the 47-meter long suspension bridge which takes you to the Falls River. On the way instead of walking the whole route, you could also Kayak or take a water taxi to break the experience to revel in the coastal scenery. You could also go on a day walk to get a short experience of this track. As the difficulty level is very low for this walk, it is recommended to take on as a family adventure and the track offers some best campsites on the beaches.
Abel Tasman Inland Track
This is a famous track where you walk into the park away from the coast into the lush green forests of the National Park. The track is around 41 km long and takes around 2-3 days to complete and it is regarded as an advanced track which requires the climbers to have some level of witness to take on this hike. The track takes you from Marahau through the Pigeon Saddle located on Takaka culminating at Wainui Bay . While on this hike you have to climb some steep peaks and the viewpoint from the Gibbs Hill is a marvelous sight.
There are a few other short walks which can be completed in less than a few hours time like Wainui Falls Track which takes you along the forest landscape is an advanced route which finally takes you to the roaring Wainui Falls which are the largest falls in the Golden Bay region, Harwoods Hole Track is a hike which takes you to the Harwoods hole which is the deepest vertical shaft in all of New Zealand.
The park has innumerable private operators running kayaking tours and is a must have experience as you get to explore the park through its waters. The best places to start kayaking in the park are the Golden Bay, Marahau and Kaiteriteri. It is best recommended to take a guided tour if you have never kayaked.
Many lovely and beautiful beaches in all of New Zealand can be found on this one beach. Already mentioned in this list is the Awaroa beach which is found in the Park. The other famous beaches are the Medlands beach known for the golden sand and picturesque green landscape which is swarmed by tourists to enjoy Kayaking, Sandfly Beach which is remotely located and not visited much but water taxis operate to this isolated and unspoiled beach where a quiet picnic on the beach can be enjoyed, Torrent Bay is a long stretching beach which is loved by people for surfing and swimming, Kaiteriteri beach which is seen as the gateway to the National Park is considered the best in the south island is a stone’s throw from Nelson and is home to whales, dolphins, and penguins and Bark Bay is a beach where you can camp and stay at the beach and the sunrise viewed from this beach is as beautiful as it gets.
A beautiful rock pool which is located in the park also has a natural waterslide to glide into the pool. It is an hour’s walk away from Torrent Bay. The track to reach the pool is through a river but as there is no bridge, you must be ready to hop on stones.
A section of the pool
There are only two places to get on your bike and explore the hilly terrain of the National Park. The first place is on the Moa Park Track which is a loop track and is accessible year around. The second place is the Gibbs Hills Track which is available to bikers only between May to October.
There are ample and varied spaces where you can stay in the park. There are lodges like Kaiteri, Torrent Bay and Awaroa which provide a cheap and comfortable stay.
The Park has 8 huts operated by the Deparment of Conservation to stay at while taking on the two long hikes. Other than this they operate three main campgrounds located in Totaraniu.
Ensure that you have checked the eligibility for your New Zealand eTA. If you are from a Visa Waiver country then you can apply for an eTA regardless of the mode of travel (Air / Cruise). United States citizens, Canadian citizens, German citizens, and United Kingdom citizens can apply online for New Zealand eTA. United Kingdom residents can stay on New Zealand eTA for 6 months while others for 90 days.
Please apply for a New Zealand eTA 72 hours in advance of your flight.